Keep your Twitchy Fingers to Yourself
I got her weight wrong by two ounces; hey I just had a baby! I had called my dad, my mom was in the room, and my siblings were all over the planet. I used social media to make it easy. And since 2011, many other families have decided to do the same.
BUT, what happens when the family isn't the one sharing the news? What if you don't want to tell the millions of people on Facebook, or Twitter, or even through Email that your baby has arrived? What if the birth announcement on social media is not from the parents, but from someone who isn't even that close with the family?
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of helping a family as their doula, and this was their reality. A friend had gotten the email with news of the birth and took it upon herself to share intimate details of the event on social media, without permission, from the parents. They were outraged, but didn't know if it was an appropriate feeling to have. They were hurt. Sad. Angry. They had no idea what would make this person feel it was her right, or duty, to share information that was explicitly NOT shared on social media for a reason. Their reason being, they were so incredibly overwhelmed with being new parents, breastfeeding, pain management, trying to nurse in the NICU, seeing their child, and being worried about his care that they hadn't had time to discuss what they wanted to share with the entire planet. Any news would mean opening a floodgate of phone calls and messages they weren’t ready to navigate.
When they told me about it and asked my opinion, I shared their concern.
It may not come as common sense to some, but let me spell it out for those that don't have a clue: if you didn't give 23 chromosomes to the newly delivered child, your lips (read: fingers) should be sealed on social media. This may be really hard for some people. And understandably so, a new baby is exciting stuff! But this isn't your news. It's not your news to share the time of delivery, the weight of the baby, or how long or short labor was. Resist the urge. If you need to post something, there are plenty of cute videos to pass along.
The parents I mentioned above ended up writing a second email. They set some clear guidelines.
It's not something many parents take the time to consider before having their baby, but in the age of checking in, updating statuses, and selfies, it may be worth the conversation with your partner to determine how you want to deliver your baby news.
So when can you share the news if it isn’t yours to share? Simple, AFTER the parents do!
And to help you out in the meantime, here is a cat in a shark costume riding a Roomba. Share away. You're welcome.